Banana Rabanada (Baked, Not Fried!)

April 28th, 2013 11:51 am by Kelly Garbato

2013-04-18 - VB Banana Rabanada - 0001

According to Isa, Banana Rabanada (otherwise known as Brazilian French Toast) is a traditional Christmas dish in Brazil. Thick slices of bread are coated in a banana custard and then pan fried, much like the French toast I so loved as a kid (with eggs assuming the role of banana, of course). The recipe featured in Vegan Brunch includes a custard-like batter made of overripe bananas blended with vanilla, nondairy milk, and cornstarch. Though I’ve never been a fan of French toast recipes that replace egg-based batters with bananas – they always have the weirdest aftertaste – I decided to give this recipe a try anyway. Since the bananas take center stage, perhaps their presence wouldn’t seem so out of place here. Makes sense, right?

I did make one major modification to Isa’s recipe. Ever since discovering the awesomeness that is baked French toast (courtesy of Vegan Junk Food), I’ve been reluctant to fry French toast ever again. So messy! And slow! And dangerous, what with that hot oil flying everywhere.

I hit the google to see whether anyone had tried modifying this recipe for baking, but no one had; the closest hit I found was a query on Isa’s Pumpkin French Toast recipe concerning baking vs. frying. The many recipes I saw for bread pudding (new to me!) proved encouraging, especially in their similarity to baked French toast – the main difference being that pudding uses pieces of bread instead of whole slices. Anyway, I figured a little experimentation couldn’t hurt.

So I soaked the bread – seven slices of old Italian – in the batter as instructed (plus three tablespoons of sugar for added sweetness), and then baked it using Lane Gold’s method: 30 minutes uncovered at 350F. And it worked! Most of the batter soaked into the bread and the remaining liquid thickened up into a custard- or syrup-like consistency. In the picture above, the top piece is flipped upside-down to show the gooey banana underside, while the tops are dusted with cinnamon and cocoa powder. Not shown is the maple syrup I smothered it with some thirty seconds later. The syrup mixed with the cinnamon and cocoa powder to create a mini river of deliciousness I can only call awesome sauce.

Probably this version isn’t as decadent as the original, with its fatty fried exterior – and it’s not nearly as good as the baked French toast found in Vegan Junk Food, which is sticky sweet with sugar. But it’s also hella healthier than either, with less fat and sugar, and a serving of fruit to boot.

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